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What Does it All Mean? Basic Terminology and Jargon of Modern Paintball!

By August 12, 2019August 21st, 2019No Comments

Marker a.k.a Paintball Marker

Marker a.k.a Paintball Marker – another, less worrisome or frightening term for a “paintball gun.” To put new players, parents and non-players at-ease while discussing the game, many in the paintball industry call the air-powered devices we use to shoot paintballs at each other, our paintball guns, paintball markers. This is a bit of a throwback term, as it hearkens back to the earliest days of paintball, when the first games were played using marking pistols initially used to mark cattle or trees with oil-based paint.

Mask a.k.a Goggles, Facemask

Mask a.k.a Goggles, Facemask – protective facemask and goggle combination used for playing safe paintball games is often referred to as a “mask”, “facemask” or “goggles” by players and staff. While they may be called goggles, the term refers to the complete “goggle system” used to protect the eyes, face, forehead, ears, cheeks and often the neck of a player wearing them. Bottom line – always keep them on while the paintballs are flying, and ONLY wear paintball-approved and tested paintball goggles while playing the game! No excuses!

Hopper a.k.a Loader

Hopper a.k.a Loader – the device sitting on top of most modern paintball guns that feeds paintballs down into the paintball gun for firing. Generally, the term “hopper” is used to refer to a basic plastic container with a flip-top lid that allows paintballs to feed into the paintball gun via gravity, while “loader” most often refers to a higher-end, electronic device that pushes paintballs into faster firing, higher-end paintball guns, though the terms are generally interchangeable.

Bottle a.k.a Tank

Bottle a.k.a Tank – modern paintball guns use air from small, refillable CO2 or compressed air bottles, or tanks, to power each shot. Paintball stores and playing fields can refill these small bottles and they are generally threaded into the back of a paintball gun and used as a shoulder stock. These bottles are tested for safety periodically to ensure their safety.

Barrel Cover a.k.a Barrel Sock, Cover

Barrel Cover a.k.a Barrel Sock, Cover – a simple yet effective safety device, a barrel cover, also known as a barrel sock, is a stitched sock-like cloth or rubber device fitted over the muzzle of a paintball gun and secured with an elastic lanyard. While paintball players are relaxing between games, should someone accidentally discharge their marker, the barrel cover will catch the paintball and prevent it from causing harm or injury to players not wearing safety equipment.


Pack – paintball players wear packs, also once referred-to as harnesses, to hold several small plastic tubes known as pods, to carry their extra paintballs. These either fit on a belt or are designed to wrap around the player’s waist and secure with a Velcro belt.


Pod – carrying extra paintballs onto the field of play and reloading quickly and effectively during games is achieved by carrying 140 round plastic tubes equipped with flip-top lids called pods. These pods, when slipped into a pack on the wearer’s back, enable a player to carry hundreds of extra paintballs, if necessary, and reload quickly even while under fire!

Chronograph a.k.a Chrono, Chrony

Chronograph a.k.a Chrono, Chrony – second only to having fun, safety is paramount to playing the game of paintball and one way the game ensures that safety is by requiring every player to shoot their paintball gun over a radar gun that measures the speed of each fired paintball, called a chronograph. Often simply called a “chrono” or “chrony”, players must chronograph their paintball guns and adjust the speed at which each paintball is fired to ensure they are under the field’s safety limit, generally between 275 and 300 feet per second. All modern paintball guns allow for quick and simply adjustment and players will generally re-check their paintball guns for speed several times throughout the day to ensure safety and fair play!


Bunker – anything paintball players use for cover while being shot at by opponents, a bunker on a paintball field can be anything from a pile of stacked logs or sticks to elaborate constructions built from corrugated tubing, concrete, construction material, cable spools, pallets, inflatable air-filled materials and more! Players often refer to approaching an opponent hiding behind such cover and eliminating them at close range as “bunkering” an opponent.


Speedball – a term referring to the fast-paced, competitive style of paintball played on small, more spectator-friendly fields intended to create an exciting, more intense style of play. Games generally last only a few short minutes and are played between three, five, seven or ten-player teams that start within sight of one-another, scoring points by eliminating opponents or by pulling, and hanging, flags placed either at each end of the field or in the center of the field.


Hyperball – a type of spectator-friendly paintball played on large speedball fields constructed from corrugated drainage pipe intended to look futuristic, this style of play rose to popularity in Europe and the United States in the mid-nineties and has regained popularity in recent years.


Airball – a term referring to a style of fast-paced, tournament speedball played on paintball fields utilizing bunkers constructed from inflatable vinyl materials that can be easily set up, inflated, and then deflated and moved away, allowing paintball to be played at more public, spectator-friendly venues such as stadiums. Most modern competitive tournament paintball is played on airball fields.


Magfed – abbreviated term for playing paintball with a paintball gun fed from a magazine rather than a hopper or referring directly to a magazine-fed paintball gun. Hard-core scenario paintball players or those who enjoy a more military look and feel to their equipment often find this to be their favorite style of play, as magazine-fed paintball guns are designed to look and handle like tactically inspired firearms used by the military.